ABOUT THE VENDOR
Interface Software, Inc., produces Relationship Intelligence solutions for the professional services industries. A critical component to any knowledge management strategy, Relationship Intelligence goes beyond Client Relationship Management software and transforms a professional services firm's internal competitive information about people, companies, relationships, experience, and expertise into intelligence. Professionals leverage Relationship Intelligence to uncover new revenue opportunities, differentiate their services from the competition, and enhance client service.
ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
Ranked as one of Canada's top business law firms by clients and leading independent reviews, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP advises many of Canada's corporate leaders as well as U.S. and international parties with extensive interests in the country. The January 2001 issue of Lexpert, the leading Canadian legal industry publication, ranks Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP first in Toronto in bench strength and reputation in corporate matters.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP played a key advisory role in eight of the 10 largest transactions announced or completed in Canada in 2000. The firm's track record in 1999 was equally robust, advising in 14 of the 25 largest deals announced that year. The firm has offices in Ottawa, Calgary, Montr?, and New York.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
InterAction creates Relationship Intelligence through four unique processes:
-- Relationship Discovery
-- Relationship Management
-- Marketing Automation
-- Knowledge Delivery
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP were looking for a CRM system that would be easy to roll out to its 1,000 employees. SearchCRM spoke with Trina Joyce, Information Services manager, about the project.
SearchCRM: Why did your company decide to look at CRM solutions?
Joyce: We already had a CRM system in place, but it was only for the marketing group. We needed a program that we could roll out to all staff members, because we wanted to start including the lawyers and assistants in our marketing and communication efforts. We also needed something that had more advanced features on the marketing side -- we needed better search capabilities as we started moving towards electronic distribution of e-mails.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a CRM solution?
Joyce: It needed to be easy to use and easy to roll out to 1,000 people in five offices. We really wanted the lawyers and assistants to use it on a day-to-day basis as their contact manager. Also, down the road, we wanted to be able to link this system to our other databases for true data analysis.
SearchCRM: Why did you choose the InterAction product?
Joyce: It was very user-friendly and wasn't intimidating to the lawyers and assistants -- it looked a lot like what they were currently using. It definitely allowed us to plan to link up with other systems like our accounting systems. It had everything we needed from a marketing perspective for maintaining our mailing lists and event lists and moving towards electronic distribution.
SearchCRM: How did the implementation go?
Joyce: It went very well. We took a slightly different approach. Marketing rolled out a year before we rolled it out to the firm, so we had the expertise in-house on how to use this product. We felt that the best way to encourage use was to roll it out with all the lawyers' information already in it, so we did data entry for all of our 350 lawyers. We had full-time data entry people working around the clock. The lawyers didn't have to do any legwork themselves. We thought this would be the best way to have the product accepted, and it also gave us an opportunity to weed out bad data. It was a great success -- as a result, we really did get buy-in.
SearchCRM: How do your employees use the product in their day-to-day operations?
Joyce: It replaces their Outlook, so it's their day-to-day contact management program. They also use it for mail merges and fax merges. It replaces any number of things from their paper rolodex to Outlook.
SearchCRM: How does this help you serve your client better?
Joyce: We've been able to reduce duplication, and we've probably doubled the number of people on our mailing list so the clients are actually getting more relevant information, such as being invited to events and seminars. Because all 1,000 people have access to the most up-to-date information, there are fewer slowdowns with having the wrong phone number or fax number. Speed and accuracy have improved so that clients are getting the information they need.
SearchCRM: What has been the most rewarding result so far?
Joyce: The positive feedback that we get back from users in terms of ease of use and the accuracy of the data. People will go to add a new contact for their lawyers and realize that the information is already there. It's reducing the lawyers' and the assistants' workload considerably.
Also, marketing doesn't have to go trolling for information like we had to in the past when we had a big event or a big publication coming out.
SearchCRM: When do you expect to see ROI?
Joyce: It's already presented itself in a number of ways. There are the dollars saved in sheer time-saving and the confidence instilled in our clients, who appreciate our attention to detail.
SearchCRM: Do you have any advice for other companies thinking of starting a similar project?
Joyce: Have a good project plan in place that involves people from all of the administrative groups. It shouldn't be just tech driven because the data has to be maintained by everyone. Have representatives from all the key user groups. Also, make the transition as easy as possible for all the users; take a lot of the brunt of that on yourself.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared this year in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle and Psychology Today. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in November 2001